Pilots in fatal mid-air crash in Leicestershire 'saw each other too late'

image copyrightANDREW CARPENTER
image captionSeventy-year-old Chris Armstrong suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene

The pilots of a plane and glider involved in a fatal mid-air crash did not see each other "in sufficient time", a report has revealed.

Glider pilot Chris Armstrong, 70, was killed in the crash near Lubenham, Leicestershire, in December.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch report said the low sun "would have reduced the likelihood" of Mr Armstrong seeing the Cessna 150 aircraft.

The plane suffered damage to its right wing but landed safely.

image copyrightGoogle/AAIB
image captionThe Cessna 150 was on a training flight from the Hinton-in-the-Hedges Airfield to Leicester Airport

In the Cessna were a flying instructor and a student on a training flight from the Hinton-in-the-Hedges Airfield to Leicester Airport.

The report said the instructor was "aware" of other aircraft in the area, which "were a source of distraction".

When the glider was spotted, the instructor "made an instinctive control input to pitch the aircraft nose-down and roll left" to try to avoid the collision, but shortly after they heard "a loud bang".

image copyrightAAIB
image captionThe plane was left with "significant damage" to its right wing

According to one eyewitness, visibility was "excellent, apart from when flying toward the low sun", and after the collision Mr Armstrong's glider rolled downwards steeply before crashing into a field.

Mr Armstrong was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem found he suffered "multiple injuries" when his glider hit the ground, and health issues were not a factor in the collision.

The AAIB report said both pilots "were appropriately qualified and experienced to conduct their respective flights".

It said there were "no electronic means" on the plane "to increase the ability to detect other aircraft", with the pilots relying on "lookout and visual detection, which has limitations".

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